[The end of week one found us anchored off Powell Cay – Week 1]
Saturday April 8th – Powell Cay to Treasure Cay
Under normal circumstances we would have spent a few days at Powell. However we had two things to contend with. The first is Whale Cay Channel, the second is the imminent arrival of heavy wind.
Whale Cay channel is wide and faces the open Atlantic. It is notorious for being in a rage – that is huge breaking seas that make transiting the channel dangerous, in fact regularly impassable. Back in the late 90s a cruise ship company built a “private island” inside the channel at Baker’s Bay. Within a short time they had to abandon the playground as the Whale Cay channel was often too rough for even their cruise ships to get in!
We use a number of sources for our weather forecast. Windy, Windfinder, NOAA, Barometer Bob, and subscribe to Chris Parker’s twice daily regional updates. All were aligned that there was a significant blow coming in starting Sunday, with winds gusting to 38 knots from the south!
Early Sunday looked OK to cross Whale Cay Channel but we decided to not leave it another day in case it came in early.
We crossed the channel without incident, with rolly five foot swells for an hour. We made the turn to the south west and the entrance to Treasure Cay mooring basin. There are four mooring balls left but we had no idea if they had been maintained since Hurricane Dorian devastated the resort and marina. So we chose to trust our own ground tackle and tucked ourselves up behind a row of condos.
Sunday April 9th – Thursday April 14th. At Anchor Treasure Cay
On one of our trips into what is left of the marina we spoke to one of the charter captains and he told us that he had no idea if the moorings were being maintained, that we should dive on it if we wanted to use one.
So we initially anchored right behind the condos on the north side of the basin to get some protection from the north blow that was coming in. After a day more boats cam in and started picking up the mooring balls. since we were anchored in the middle of them, we lifted the anchor and moved to the back of the basin out of the way of the moorings. We had assumed others would not trust the mooring balls for the same reasons we didn’t but it seemed that was not the case. We did see one captain dive on the mooring who later reported his mooring looked secure and we did not see anyone drag while there. However, use at your own risk!
We had used Google satellite images and saw that there was a dock used by the charter boats along the side where the Tipsy Turtle used to be, it seemed that we could use this to take Bella to shore. However when we go there we found that it was a fixed dock about four feet off the water at high tide.
For the four days that we were there we had to put the doggie life jacket on Bella and use it to haul her up to the dock. This wasn’t without lots of wriggling and leg scratches! Most of the time she could jump back down unaided.
Treasure Cay was our “happy place” in Abaco. We first visited with the children in 2002, 21 years ago. And many times since. In fact we worked out that we visited the marina four times in 2018! We walked the wonderful beach, swam in the pool by the Tipsy turtle, drank in the bar and ate in the restaurant. Now it is totally gone, destroyed. Not beyond recognition, because we recognize the footprints of the different resort areas, but there is nothing there. It is such a sad, sad, sad emotional experience.
We took Bella in twice a day, getting soaked it the wave action created by the wind. We walked the beach again, it is still wonderfully beautiful. I guess nature has a way of preserving its own. But the rest of the time we hunkered down on Sonas.
Sunday was Easter Sunday and Sian did a roast lamb dinner – and delicious it was!
On Monday we watched as a 37 foot rented power cat come in. He went through the anchorage and moved about looking for a good place to drop the anchor. Soon after we saw it reappear between us and the sea wall in obvious distress. the anchor was dragging and the captain could not seem to motor the boat away from the sea wall. A fellow boater appears in a small dinghy and told us that he had fouled a prop and couldn’t maneuver. He was soon against the sea wall. Paul put on a PFD and grabbed two of our large fenders and took them over. He tried to give them to one of the women on board but she didn’t seem to understand what he was telling her to do. He spoke to the guy on board and he said he was going to try and cut the rope off the anchor. Paul asked if he had a sharp enough knife and he showed a kitchen knife which he seems to be able to run his finger along without injury. Paul came back to Sonas and grabbed his serrated folding knife and took it over to him,
He was unable to free the line. Eventually some locals got him a diver who got him free and onto a mooring ball. He got himself calmed down and then left the anchorage. Not long after two guys in a dinghy came by and gave Paul his knife back! We would meet this power cat and family later on in the week!
One good thing (though bad as well) is that we “discovered’ the cinnamon rolls baked fresh every morning in the bakery. We bought two but when we got them out of the bag we realized that each one was a two person portion. So we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast two days in a row. Naughty!
Thursday and Friday April 14th – 15th Treasure Cay to Marsh Harbour
The storm finally abated and we were free to leave Treasure Cay! It was less than a two hour run to Marsh Harbour and we could not book into our reserved slip until midday. So we had another long walk on the beach, lifted the dinghy, got Sonas tidied up and left the Treasure Cay mooring basin at 10:30.
We had only planned on staying the one night at the Conch Inn Marina, but decided that we deserved another day of R&R so booked a second night. We very rarely stay in marinas which cruising the Bahamas since we are very self-sufficient with the equipment on Sonas, but after four days pretty much stuck on board during the blow we decided we deserved it!
As we backed into our slip both of us separately notices the burgee flying at the bow of the boat n the next slip. after we had settled everything down we had another look and, yes, it was a Queen’s Harbour Yacht Club burgee – a boat from our neighborhood! the owners Paul and Bev were unfortunately not on board.
Later in the day a group from the Many Hands organization came and took off the Hope Buckets and school supplies that we had brought from Florida as part of the Hope Fleet initiative.
We basically just chilled on Sonas and went up to Snappas right at the marina for for dinner. Paul had the largest mahi sandwich he has even seen!
The next day we went up to Maxwell’s Supermarket to replenish the fresh provisions. Maxwell’s is a very well stocked American sized supermarket and we have never been disappointed with the availability of goods there. However we found it pretty empty of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, etc. We were told that, for some reason, they had not yet unloaded the supply boat that was in the harbour. We are coming back into Marsh next week so will try again.
Walking to the store we passed many many buildings destroyed by Dorian. There is building going on near the waterfront but we saw little activity elsewhere. We are going to do a post on the status of each of the settlements we visit at the end of our cruise.
We went to a new-to-us restaurant in the evening, Colors Bahamian. A deck restaurant painted in the yellow and blues of the Bahamian flag. We were looked after by Matthew and had an enjoyable meal.
Week two has ended and we are in the Hub of Abaco!